Fire trucks arrive at Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in New York on April 7, 2018 during a fire on the 50th floor of the building owned by US President Donald Trump (AFP / Getty Images)
. He swallowed firefighters as they walked through the hallway obstructed by smoke from a Brooklyn building, looking for a 67-year-old woman who believed she was trapped inside her apartment.
More than 150 lifeguards were on the scene as the pre-dawn glow On December 19, 1998, the New York Times reported later on the facilities for older people operated by the Housing Authority of the City of NY. The three men on the top floor were immobilized when the wind from the open windows turned the narrow corridor into a blowtorch. "May Day!" He came on the radio. The firemen died in a minute.
The fire – the deadliest to arrive in New York City in four years – was quickly followed by another tragedy on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on December 25. Four residents were killed when a fire broke out inside a 51-story apartment building, South Park Towers.
In both fires, sprinklers -for lack of them- played a critical role in the loss of lives. The sprinklers in the Brooklyn building did not work. South Park Towers did not have them in their residential flats. Later, the then mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and other officials advocated new laws that required sprinklers in all buildings.
The proposal, however, received the rejection of the real estate developers who argued that the modification of existing structures was too expensive, including Donald Trump.
The president's past views on fire sprinklers are back in the news after a fire rampaged through an apartment on the 50th floor at Trump Tower in New York City on Saturday night. Todd Brassner, a 67-year-old art dealer, was found unconscious at the scene. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Due to the controversial debate in the late 1990s about fire safety, no sprinklers were installed on the Trump property, safeguards that may have stopped or limited the fire this weekend.
The floors, which are residence floors, are not sprayed, "said Commissioner Dan Nigro of the FDNY at a press conference, the New York Daily News reported," but the safe building stood quite well. "
] For Jerome Rose, the Trump Tower fire this weekend was a particularly bleak form of deja vu Resident of South Park Towers in 1998, Rose became a strong supporter of the sprinkler law after the tragedy.
"What New York City does not understand is that each of these high-rise apartment buildings that do not have sprinklers on them … are fire traps," Rose told ABC News over the weekend. "I'm still angry because it's a damned cover-up and the city has hidden it for years and years."
After the two 1998 fires, the Giuliani administration pushed for some kind of proposal to address sprinklers in large buildings. height. " Sprinklers are a good idea; they certainly help, "the mayor told the New York Times at the time," The question is exactly how they are used. "
The main problem was whether it would only require a new construction to have sprinklers, or if older buildings they would be forced to add sprinklers too, Trump and other real estate developers felt that the latter option was too expensive, and estimated that the remodeling of structures would cost up to $ 4 per square foot to add sprinklers.
According to a January article In 1999 in the New York Post, Trump personally "summoned a dozen council members to lobby against the sprinklers." He also donated $ 5,000 to withdraw campaign debt from Peter Vallone, the council speaker. New York Times that had "received and made calls" to municipal officials about the sprinkler proposal, including Archie Spigner, the then president of the Vi Committee Housing and Council Buildings.
"After the fire at South Park Tower, I was sitting there with the owners when a phone call came from a certain real estate developer by the name of Donald Trump," Rose, the sprinkler advocate, reminded ABC News. "I went there to invite them to a memorial service … and I remember the phone call, they said:" Oh, Donald is talking on the phone and he said there's going to be a big move to modernize all of New York's skyscrapers with sprinklers & # 39; "
"People feel more secure with sprinklers," Trump told the New York Times that year. "But the problem with the bill is that it does not go to the buildings that need the most sprinklers, if you look at fire deaths in New York, almost everyone is in one or two family homes."
Opposition to the proposal influenced the final version of the legislation. When the city council approved the proposal in March 1999, it required sprinklers in all new residential buildings with four or more units in each apartment and the common hallway. Existing structures that underwent renovations that add up to 50 percent or more of the building's value also needed sprinklers.
But other older buildings, such as the Trump Tower, built in 1983, could remain without sprinklers.
legislation passed, Trump announced that he would spend $ 3 million to place sprinklers on the 350 units at Trump World Tower, a building that the developer was building across the street from the United Nations.
Under the 1999 legislation, owners who already had their building permits filed did not have to add sprinklers, but Trump opted to do so on his new project, which opened in 2001, the Daily News reported.
After the fire on Saturday, Trump briefly commented on the fire on Twitter. "Fire at Trump Tower is out," the president wrote. "Very confined (well-built building)." Firefighters (and women) did a great job. "